When required building control approval and when not

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hammer1
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When required building control approval and when not

Post by hammer1 » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:11 pm

Got a quick one folks

Got a high rise 60s block with the old type natural ventilation smoke shaft in the flats lobby that serves all floors, obviously now it is known smoke drops when cold, there is risk of smoke spread. However as this is an original structure feature for fire, should it fall under 'building works' per building regulations and would need building control approval if persons are looking at blanking of these ventilation grilles with fire resistant materials.

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Re: When required building control approval and when not

Post by Messy » Wed Aug 08, 2018 8:47 pm

Blimey, there's a question!!

My view is it is (or could be considered to be) a 'material alteration of a building', so fits within Reg 3(1)(c) of the Building Regulations.

Of course material alteration is a tricky one as its defined as ' in a building .... not complying with a relevant requirement where previously it did; "

So the block previously complied with a relevant requirement in the 60s when it was built. Your assessment is, research makes this provision (the ventilation) less safe that it would be if the grills were blanked off - so although it doesn't comply as it previously did, risk has been reduced

Frankly, I would run it past BC.

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Re: When required building control approval and when not

Post by bernicarey » Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:01 pm

Got to agree with Messy. But run it directly past the LA Building Control, not one of these 'Consultant' type companies that can do BC work, because you can guarantee that if the LA don't agree, the private company will wriggle until it's not their fault they got it wrong.

Of course, an alternative would be to install extractor fans so that it was no longer relying on the hot air rising to get the smoke out. ;)
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Re: When required building control approval and when not

Post by hammer1 » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:05 am

bernicarey wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 2:01 pm
Got to agree with Messy. But run it directly past the LA Building Control, not one of these 'Consultant' type companies that can do BC work, because you can guarantee that if the LA don't agree, the private company will wriggle until it's not their fault they got it wrong.

Of course, an alternative would be to install extractor fans so that it was no longer relying on the hot air rising to get the smoke out. ;)

I agree with you both, however I am hitting the usual politics aspect. Yes the alternative is to upgrade as per modern building regulations, however this will be at tremendous cost and would need to be taken as a long term objective.

What some people seem to forget is the smoke systems are not only for the purpose of operational firefighting but needs to be S&S for people to evacuate if need be, especially if fire compartmentation cannot be guaranteed. So where you have a lobby of 4 flats, one flat where fire is, door is left open/ is compromised - what do the other occupants of the 3 flats do? As it is there some smoke ventilation, is it is blanked off, can you imagine residents in the other flats staying? especially now with the change ' evacuate if fire/smoke is effecting you/you feel threatened' to the stay put policy procedures?

You only need to read the expert statements in the Grenfell enquiry to see what can go wrong (lifts/dry risers/ smoke system all failed/ the smoke system seems to have not even been properly interfaced with the smoke detection) - Moves you on to a whole new argument about compliance, I understand the main focus is currently the external façade but no doubt the 'compliance' issue will surface as some point. Many in the industry use compliance as a 'tick box' or an excuse to do the 'minimum'. Be interesting to see if the LA did not implement BS testing and maintenance regimes and if they need to justify whatever deviation they did (no records of testing/maintenance to some parts of the life system was highlighted in the expert statement).

I really don't think some people at senior levels have a grasp yet of the fundamental changes that will happen in the next 3-4 years.....business as usual will not cut it I am afraid.

And don't even talk to me about the fire doors issues and external façade issues :( :roll:
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